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everything about gear

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01_INTRODUCTION

DISCLAIMER: This page is meant to share my thoughts on the gear. In some cases, I have gotten the equipment at a discount or get some sort of benefit if you order. I will do my best to be transparent with those situations. Last but not least, I am not a certified parachute rigger. Nor am I an expert on each item mentioned. Gather information from multiple trusted sources and make a well informed decision.

Talk to your instructor and/Or Rigger before Buying

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Demo Units available

02_ALTIMETERS

Altimeters are often the first gear purchase for new jumpers. My first altimeter was an analog Alti-2 Galaxy($169) exactly the same as many dropzones use for students. They are simple to use and don't need to be charged. I now prefer using a digital altimeter. They can me more precise and many have the added benefit of logging data about your jumps. Before buying a digital altimeter make sure to check with your dz on when you can use it as a student.

Currently using:

DigiAlti
Retail: $389 (Buy a DigiAlti from me here!)

Pros: Additional customizable light alerts across the top of the altimeter. Log and sync features with online logbook

Cons: No backlight for night jumps

*I am a Freefall Data Systems dealer. If you purchase directly from me, I will benefit from it financially.*

Alti-2 Atlas

Retail: $399

I've also enjoyed the Alti-2 Atlas. I love the user interface but have had to have 2 units replaced due to the charger port going bad.

AUDIBLE / HUD Lights

Audible altimeters sit in your helmet and beep at certain altitudes. Some are designed for only freefall and some have freefall and canopy alerts as well as logging features.

ColorAlti G2
Retail: $379 (Buy ColorAlti G2 from me here!)

Pros: Visual HUD style LED lights on the inside of your visor give you constant altitude awareness in your field of view. I think that this is absolutely game changing. No more thinking, "Did I miss my audible going off etc". Extremely customizable alerts/settings with app

Cons: So customizable its overwhelming

*I am a Freefall Data Systems dealer. If you purchase directly from me, I will benefit from it financially.*

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03_HELMETS

Helmets are another piece of equipment commonly purchased early on.​ Until recent years skydiving helmets provided very minimal protection for anything other than minor bumps. There are now multiple skydiving helmets with impact ratings. Skydiving helmets also generally offer a place to put audible altimeters.

Full Face or Open Face?

Full face helmets keep wind and noise to a minimum in freefall. There is some extra protection with the face shield as well. In some conditions and with some helmets the visor can be more prone to fogging. Its not fun to have a malfunction with a fogged over visor.

Open face helmets let you feel the wind. You can hear other jumpers more easily under canopy. Most professional camera fliers use an open face helmet because they are much easier to cutaway in the case of a camera entanglement.

Cookie G4 Size XL

Retail: $459

Pros: Impact rated for safety, audible pockets, quiet freefall, better for the tunnel
Cons: On very rare occasions foggy visor

Cookie Fuel Size XXL

Retail: $259 + Cutaway Chin Cup $99

Pros: Cutaway chin cup, audible pockets, Easier to hear other jumpers under canopy

Cons: No Impact rating, louder freefall

 

 
 
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4_JUMPSUITS

I'm sure you're excited to jump without a jumpsuit! Trust me, it feels great on a hot day, just be sure to properly tuck in your clothes so they don't become a problem. Having an untucked shirt cover your emergency handles during deployment isn't fun.

On plenty of jumps a jumpsuit will help you be more successful. I wear a jumpsuit on most of my jumps because it gives me a larger range in my fall rate and makes it easier to be where I need to on the jump. You can often find a used jumpsuit cheap or you may be able to borrow one for a jump from your dropzone. If you want to slow your fall rate, find one that's big and baggy.

Old Baggy jumpsuit
Used Price: Free
Pros: Lots of range in my fall rate, price of free
Cons: No Grippers, Doesn't look as good or have the bells and whistles a newer suit might have.
Tony Suits Camera Wings
Used Price: $100
Pros: Served me well on lots of outside video jumps.
Cons: Would prefer a jacket instead of suit, but we cut the legs off for hot days.
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05_BUYING YOUR 1ST RIG

ask your instructors and rigger before buying

Purchasing a skydiving rig can me very intimidating. As a newer jumper you know very little about gear and you will be investing thousands of dollars on this rig. I highly recommend buying your first skydiving rig used. Much like a new car custom rigs drop in value as soon as you receive them. New gear also takes a long time to be produced. Wait times of 6 months or more are not unheard of. Will you even be jumping the same size canopy 6 months from now?

I recommend finding a used freefly friendly rig with an appropriately sized main and reserve canopy. Ideally the largest main that fits in this container would be the smallest main your are comfortable flying. This will allow you to eventually downsize without changing containers.

BUDGET: $3,000 Used, $6,500+ New

Where to buy?

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08_CONTAINER

I'm currently jumping a Wings W8-2 EXT. This is the longer version of the classic Wings containers. It is the 2nd container I have owned and I purchased it new in 2017. Disclaimer: I used a half off coupon that a friend won during a boogie to purchase this container.

Wings Ext

Retail Price: $2,250 before upgrades

Things I love about it:

  • Larger reserve tray than main tray. I ordered it with the largest reserve tray I could compared to my main. If I have a cutaway, and end up needing to land in a backyard, its nice to have a 160 low pack volume reserve in the container that maxed out at a 120sq ft main.

  • Looks, I picked a black container and did neon contrast stitching and it looks very clean after thousands of jumps.

  • MARD - I opted to get the Reserve Boost option. This is a MARD similar to a Skyhook. I have had multiple cutaways on this system and really appreciate minimal altitude loss during a reserve deployment.

  • Tuck up main pin flap

Things I don't love:

  • Lack of Collins Lanyard on RSL/MARD

  • Top flap above reserve pin does not open

  • Small annoyances for the reserve repack

  • I wish I ordered a longer chest strap

  • Not a fan of the stock risers

 
 
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09_AUTOMATIC ACTIVATION DEVICES

AAD

Students are required to use AAD's but licensed skydivers are not required to do so by the USPA. While it may be true that they are not required by the USPA, a growing number of dropzones across the country require them. I highly recommend getting an AAD.

There are 3 common brands of AAD. Vigil, Cypres and Mars all offer quality products. While I currently own a Cypres I have long preferred the easy to understand interface of Vigil.

Currently Using:

Cypres Expert

I traded my Wingsuit Cypres for an Expert Cypres. The majority of my jumps are regular freefall so the WS Cypres wasn't an ideal fit for me.

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10_RESERVES

While you may never need your AAD, I am a firm believer that if you skydive long enough you will eventually need your reserve. If you end up buying an older reserve especially something over 20 years old some riggers may refuse to pack it.

 

Don't screw yourself by making your reserve ride a significant unplanned downsize with less altitude to setup a landing pattern. Make sure you are comfortable flying the size reserve you are jumping.

Currently Using:

Optimum 160
Retail: $1,790
Wingload 1.37
I've flown a fair amount of reserves and have enjoyed this one the most. It opens great and has a great flare.
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11_MAIN CANOPIES

CONSULT YOUR INSTRUCTOR

There are so many main canopies out there it is impossible to recommend one without knowing how well you are flying. For your first canopy, you probably shouldn't purchase anything higher than a 1:1 wingload. Don't cave to pressure to downsize to 1:1 either. Each canopy pilot is different and we are all on our own progression. Consult your coach and instructors.

Currently Using:

Velocity 96 
Wingload 2.3
Pros: It flies great. It opens alright usually.
Cons: Opens like a Velo sometimes
Epicene 150
Wingload 1.46
The Epicene is my wingsuit canopy. It opens great but doesn't have much glide for returning from a long spotIt's nice that I can cram a 150 into the container sized for a 120. To get a good flare you need to give it some speed.
 
 
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12_CAMERA MOUNTS

Please ask a qualified instructor or camera flyer before using a camera on your skydive and look at the USPA recommendations. There are plenty of snag resistant mounting solutions on the market that can reduce the very serious potential of snagging a camera. There are also cutaway systems for helmets in the case of a snag.

Currently Using:

Dual Top Mount / Flat Lock
Retail Price: $149
Manufacturer: Cookie
Pros: Provides low profile flat surface for mounting cameras, quick release flat lock
Cons: Doesn't provide much snag resistance with standard GoPro mount.
Double Rhino Mount
Retail Price: $125 (Available from HB-Mount)
Manufacturer: HB-Mount
Pros: Snag resistant system on front of helmet to free up more space on flat top
Cons: None known at this time
LowProMoFo
Retail: $90 (Available at Adrenaline Workshop)
Pros: Great snag resistance, integrated Allen key for adjustment or removal, fast shipping
Cons: None so far
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Thank you for your continued support: Cookie Composites | Freefall Data Systems